Are you new to my Frugal Fashionista series?
Find out how I dress in designer clothes for less. Yes, for mere pennies on the dollar, my entire outfit is less than $15, and did I mention…all second hand?
It’s no secret around here that I’ve been riding a weight loss roller coaster (written 9/10, not ’11) and unfortunately, I have climbed to the top with a 15 pound weight gain just this past year, and I haven’t quite come down the other side yet. I’ll tackle this topic in another post, but in regards to fashion, there are simple ways to visually slim your appearance and picking the right pieces is key.
People who see me daily would have a hard time believing I’ve gained almost 15 pounds this last year. At nearly 5’8″, I have an hour glass figure which allows me a five pounds fluctuation on a regular basis, but more recently, my challenge occurs with finding pants that fit. I do not want to purchase larger sizes, since I am now committed to getting this extra weight off, so I lean towards fashion focal points which don’t emphasize the tighter areas.
Look at your body shape. Do you know what it is? Do you understand your problem areas?
I am aware of mine, and since I’ve gained a larger muffin top and a bootee area where my pants are screaming for breathing room, I want to visually detract from those areas. All three of these outfits show longer sweaters and jackets that help cover them. My calves and approximately 6 inches above my knees are relatively trim, so in the outfit above, I paired a long jacket over my $5 TJ Maxx leggings and tucked the leggings into my yard sale black boots.
This $1 yard sale jacket is actually quite dated, but by pulling the jacket in at the waist with a $1 black belt and incorporating a pop of color with great accessories, it makes for an updated stylish look. If you could see the jacket by itself, you would have doubts about its Fashionista status, and given it to Goodwill yourself, but all together, it received a thumbs up when a fashionable high school girl complemented, ” I love your jacket.”
I try and remember to add at least one unusual twist to a more traditional outfit. Since a black jacket is very typical, this thrifted pink shirt with the varying neckline, along with the yard sale necklace and earrings did the trick.
Whenever I get talking fashion with friends, most of them say they just can’t wear belts. Especially, if the waist is a problem area, they think it attracts attention. I totally disagree. I think belts draw eyes in, minimizing the waist line. It takes a bit of getting used to, since it’s a paradigm shift, but you’ll thank me. Just give it a try.
When I added the black belt over the green tank, it reduced my look by ten pound immediately. The size of belts do make a difference. Each belt does not work with every outfit. At first I tried a thin, dressy belt and that was NOT good, my muffin top hung over the belt (yes, too much info, but just telling you like it is). When I added this wider $1 yard sale belt, it was perfect. (Just ignore the fact that my tank layering with the belt is a mess. I had been gone all day and just wanted out of my clothes. I really need to start looking in the mirror first and primp for you all, but I am just not a primper. ;))
Last year, do you remember my hunt for an asymmetrical sweater? Well, since my middle name is “Murphy,” and it was the first thing I bought new in years, of course, it would be the one thing I lost. I left it in a hotel a few months ago, and since it’s been a staple in my wardrobe all year, I knew I wanted to replace it immediately. I was willing to buy it new and even looked in places such as The Limited, but I couldn’t find the style I wanted.
Guess what? Last week, I found one that I LOVED at Goodwill. I was SO excited, and for only $3.75, I did the happy thrifting dance (in my mind).
Typically, I would not wear this with a long black sweater, but I led worship last week and the choir needed to wear all black – black pants and black shirts. Since I was helping lead, I had a bit more wiggle room, so decided to add a pop of color to my all black look, and layered it over a long skirt instead of pants, which gave it a very elegant look (even though my tween daughter was mortified with the long skirt. ;)).
And yes, there’s no shame in shopping at Norstrom’s. It’s one of my favorite stores. 😉 This tank is perfect for summer or winter.
Again, another example of how the $5 Goodwill jacket and yard sale belt helps minimize the waist. These comfy $1 Eddie Bauer jeans do not fit perfectly, but you’d never be able to tell under the jacket. I realize that all three of these jackets are black. Since my Frugal Fashionista posts are all about buying items second hand, unfortunately, I don’t always have the luxury of finding styles I love in varying colors. Trust me, I am keeping my eyes out for different colors.
These jeans are a size 12, but with the belt attached loosely, I love how it shaves “inches” off my waist.
I think my next challenge, after I finish the 30 Day Shred, needs to be the 30 Day Hair Challenge, where we all commit to fixing our hair for 30 days straight. 🙂
As I look through these pictures, I realize that my 30 second wash and go hair look came through a bit too clearly, so please, no emails about needing to fix up my hair or add more make up. Trust me, more times than I care to admit, especially when I lead worship, I’ve gotten to church at 7:30 am with my hair still wet.
Sometimes, that’s just life, and I’m still learning to balance both the beauty and bedlam in my every day. It’s all about baby steps and when my Frugal Fashionsta pictures start looking a bit more like model poses, and my photographer has been upgraded from my 8 and 12 year old daughters, then I have officially arrived. 😉
So, I shared how I am dealing with my muffin top with these longer sweaters, are there ways that you deal with your problem areas or are you still trying to figure that out?
I’m so sorry people can be so critical sometimes & think highly enough of their own opinion to send you an e-mail! I think you look fabulous, and I love how REAL and vulnerable you are. You inspire me to shop differently (or just shop at all! – I turned into my mother when I had kids & never shop for myself), cook better, and be a better mom. Thanks for putting yourself out there to help people like me!
I gained 8 lbs of the 35 I lost these last few months and while I am still in my healthy range all of clothing is very tight since I redid my closet in all Xs and size 0-2 so I have been doing the same with the long boyfriend cardigans, dresses and anything else a little forgiving. My favorite jeans are benched annoy I have one pair that I can still wear. I too am not re-buying this weight will be gone in 2 months! Balancing everything in my life is the hardest and exercise goes the quickest to the way side with 2 little ones. Oh and on you hair challenge I did that this month, just finished my 30 days with no pony tail. I managed to get through it with only 2 days I pulled my hair back, now to try and keep it up.
That’s great! I can totally see the difference, and I was thinking “But I can’t WEAR a belt” when…. yep. You caught me.
I love the idea of a 30-day hair challenge. Maybe if we had a flickr group, people could point out what’s flattering, and what doesn’t work?
I have just started adding belts and you are right about it making it look as if you have lost weight. I’ve gotten so many compliments in those outfits and think “ha, if you only knew I’m actually larger than I was this time last year”. thanks for the great tips!
Melissa – isn’t it so true? Who would ever have thought? And to think of all those years we went without belts. 🙂
I experimented with belts over jackets this week on my blog, too! Small world–you look great! I’ve lost 40 pounds since last June, so it can be done! Hang in there, you can do it!!
Are you SURE ANYone can wear a belt? I am 5’5″ and very very short waist-ed. (My legs are nearly as long as my 6’1″ husband’s!) and I always feel like belts accent my uneven length… and end up too near my chest to be attractive! LOL (since we’re being REAL here!) These posts always make me think it would be worth to drive into other areas that have better 2nd hand clothing (prices and style are never good here.. although I look faithfully!) Thanks for the inspiration! (And if someone with a short waist wants to chime in on belts- I’m open! 🙂
I’m 5’1″ and short waisted (I have about 1 1/2 inches between the top of my hip bone and the bottom of my ribs) and I wear belts over shirts/sweaters/jackets. I do a weekly post on my blog called “Ladies Room Fashion Show” that might give you some ideas. It doesn’t work with every belt or every outfit, but experiment a little in the morning when you get dressed! Make sure you’re belting longer shirts/jackets/sweaters. I always thought I was too short waisted/busty (since we’re being real), but I think it works and it’s a fun way to update your wardrobe!
Yep, just wear it low slung on your hips 🙂 I’m short waisted too and can get away with that.
I’ve been lurking your blog for a while now, so I figured I’d go ahead and finally leave you a compliment you can read instead of the ones I think! 🙂 I really enjoy your blog and especially the frugal fashionista series. I’m always inspired to go “shop” my own closet and re-mix something to get a new look!
I appreciate the time and effort you put into your blog, and your transparency in what you share with your readers. (The time and effort involved is why I don’t blog myself at this point in my life).
Also, you look great! I hope this comment will somehow balance out any critical or rude ones you receive about your hair and/or makeup! Some people have too much time on their hands. 🙂
Anyway, now I’ve said hello, so I’m not just a stalker…Thanks!
thanks for “delurking.” 🙂
And yes, I tend to just chuckle and say, “seriously?” to those emails, but I knew this might be one of those posts where they felt led to help me. 😉
Love this post! Actually, I love all your posts. I am also a worship leader at my church and TOTALLY get the trying to get to church on time with 3 kids in tow. You soooo encourage me!!!
I’m curious to know about Spring’s question, too. I am 5’4″ and there’s not even three inches between my lowest ribs and the top of my hip bones, and I’m a pear shape.
Wait! You are a size 12? Get out! I never would have guessed! I am almost 5’8″ and I wear a size 12 and I don’t fell I look as thin as you! I really need to get a belt that I can wear NOT on the belt loops of my jeans. I have been going to goodwill and can’t find a belt that A. is my size but 2. is wide enough…I have a few leather belts that are probably about 2 inches wide and I don’t feel they look right outside of a shirt. And a long jacket. I have one that is watermelon color but it is really an outer wear item. I get compliments when I wear it but it has pockets and just says outer wear where yours don’t do that.
My size right now varies with the brand, but yes, those are a 12. I probably lean more towards a 10, but at the rate I was going this year, I’d be to a 14 if I continue, so I am working on getting back to an 8, little by little.
I just wanted to say that I think you look great too! I wouldn’t have guessed that you didn’t “primp” before taking the pics. Don’t let the critical people get to you!
This weekend our Goodwill is having their early bird sale. Clothing items priced $5.99 and below are only $1.00. Looking forward to getting some really nice items.
Oh fun. Wish ours did that.
Jen, I just have to say how refreshing it is to see someone be real…bad hair days and all…and still be comfortable in their own skin. I have more than 15 pounds to lose myself; but upon reading an article earlier this year, I have pulled the belts out and dusted them off. And you are right, they shave ten pounds off when used under a long sweater. I was shocked when I first tried it as I have been avoiding anything that fit for years! Thanks for sharing!
you are too sweet.
Belts girls unite. 😉
I don’t know if this is just me, or anyone with tummy-weight.
It may be obvious to most of you, but I had to see a photo of myself to realize it:
If you have a tummy, don’t tuck in your shirt.
All those before-tummy years, I looked just fine with my shirt tucked in. Now, though. Sigh.
Also, if you have a LARGE tummy, skirts flatter more than pants — they skim the bulge and then move DOWN. Pants skim the bulge and then move back inward.
I think it really depends on each person and the look you are going for. For years, when I was about 30 pounds heavier than I am now, I always thought that I should have my shirt out, but I remember a friend saying the tendency is to untuck for tummy weight and we should really tuck in so that it draws the eyes inward. I think it also depends on the pants and how they fit around the waist.
I agree 100% about the belting!!! I luv that leopard trimmed sweater!!! Let me know when you’re done with it!!!
Green looks great on you! Also I think your hair and makeup looks fine. In fact if in these photos you seriously did not do much to your hair then I envy you because it looks great!
I have learned too, that in order to not accentuate my muffin top, that means I cannot buy low rise jeans. I need mid-rise to help tuck it in. 🙂
Man, I need to get on the belt bandwagon. The belts definitely add to the outfit and I can see the points you’re making. I’ve tried it a dozen times always to yank it off and never go through with it. My waist isn’t the bad spot, it’s more my gut. Not so much love handles just the ole jelly belly. I’m 5’7″ at 125. but still can’t get rid of the belly pooch after 2 big babies. So when I put a belt on I feel like it accentuates my pooch even more. Like the belt sits on the pooch, yuck 🙁
Obviously, no pic, but what do you think? Am I only seeing that because it’s ALL I can see… or should I keep trying a belted look?
@Tys, Someone mentioned that they can’t do low rise, but mid-rise jeans. 5’7″ and 125 is pretty thin, but I know what you mean about the stretched out skin. If you wear your belts and clothes loosely, it will sit on top of the skin, camouflaging it instead of accentuating it. I would try some big belts like Jen has, maybe low slung across the “gut” area. Yeah it sits on the pooch — that’s the idea! 🙂 Hide that thing! It can’t be that bad. Keep experimenting.
Jen, you are just too adorable. I’m very hourglass shaped, myself — but a petite at 5’3″ tall. No hiding 5 pounds on me — that’s a larger dress size! But I love what you do here. Many of those are tricks I have done as my weight has fluctuated over time. And you are not kidding about the hair. If you are going to keep it long — and I love that you do — some days you can get it done and some days you do well to get make up on. Rock the low pony! 🙂
Jen, YOU are the reason I now shop for clothes at Goodwill. So of course, I always appreciate your insight and love all your thrifty finds. Maybe we need to do a ‘does this belt work on me’? link up party from the comments! LOL I am short, dumpy and hitting my middle aged bump (in my belly! lol)…I wear belts but sometimes wonder why I do. Especially when I post my Goodwill fashions on Wednesday and actually SEE the photos.
Love the third coat/sweater with the leopard print accents. I have a pair of similar boots like in your first photo. Mine our Clark’s that I got for $1 (never worn before condition) at a church rummage sale last year. They are 1/2 size too big, but I wear them anyway. At size 12 and 5’3″ I have not attempted leggings at all. I’m scared of them. LOL.
But I do have a long grey sweater on today that I got at thrift store brand new with tags.It’s short sleeved though so I wear a long sleeved black shirt under it with a great eye-popping necklace. The best part is, it’s not even designer and I still get compliments on it all the time. It’s just a regular old Walmart sweater that just happened to still have tags on it at thrift store.
You are wise and I hope will be successful in dealing with weight gain while it is still a small amount. I know it doesn’t seem that way when clothes don’t fit. BTDT repeatedly, never getting rid of the weight before gaining more ( docs tell me it’s my meds and the conditions for which I take them) and now at 80-100 lbs. overweight (OMG did I really just type that on the web?) I lose 20 lbs. and can’t drop a size. And I’m stuck at this weight. My size is so hard to thrift. Hubs picked up a brochure listing thrifts, antique shops, etc. One plus size shop. Wishing you the best in your battle of the bulge.
I love your frugal fashion posts.
Would you do a post on getting ready quickly in the morning? In one of your posts, you mentioned you could get ready in 5 minutes, but it takes me an hour and a half!
This topic would definitely apply to balancing beauty and bedlam. Thanks!
I always look forward to your frugal fashionista posts, thank you for writing them! You always look great and are such an inspiration to me. Just last summer I started shopping thrift stores for clothes and haven’t looked back, I’m amazed by the bargains that are out there. Last week I found a 3/4 length, tan, London Fog trench coat for $8! I pair it with a salmon pashmina scarf for some color around my face (which I learned from Color Me Beautiful and from you at the Becoming conference) and it looks awesome, I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it! Thank you for the fashion inspiration!
Great fashion tips..those are always some of my favorites. You
make those outfits look so cute. I hope you’ll do more on the
frugal fashionista posts. I go to the thrift stores and have some
luck but still need more confidence and ideas about what goes
together and what is still in style.
Jen, thanks for the advice. I started reading this last night and then had to make myself stop when I realized that I needed to do more than just skim the post and comments. There’s an elderly lady at our church (early 90’s) who is very sweet, however she feels free to comment on when she *thinks* I’ve lost weight. (And it doesn’t really matter who is around.) So I know that those outfits look pretty good.
We should all look as good as you do. Just sayin’.
I have that weird sort of body type, with a large bust and narrow hips, which looks great when I’m not carrying extra weight… I’m in my mid 40’s now though (cough). When I do put on a few (ahem) extra pounds, I tend to gain it around my middle. So if I wear a belt, it has to be up around my ribcage or down around my hips. The nice thing about that and thrifting is that I can buy both small and large sizes of belts, depending on how I’m going to wear them. Low rise jeans are also my friends, as I find that pants that fit around my waist are too big around my hips.
I WISH my bad hair looked as good as yours..really!! Don’t pose or change photographers..your
girls do a great job. I need to wear make-up, rarely take the time to do so. I do think “less is more”, like the natural look and you have a perfect balance. Your inner beauty and heart shine through!!
Thanks for all of your encouraging words..you are a great coach!! Don’t feel the need to “perfect”..you just being you is perfect..and you are loved for that..
I think your hair looks fine. Cute outfits, and I, too, love the long jacket with leopard cuffs. 🙂
I need some belts!! I search for them, but they are impossible to find in my size (16) – I will recheck the thrift stores and see if I can find some that I can wear stylish like you Jen! Thanks for the tip!!
@Rachel, Just wanted to say that I feel your pain. I’m a size 16 or 18, and it’s really tough to find clothes in that size, especially at thrift stores. Good luck in your search.
Oh I get so excited to see a Frugal Fashionista post! You just made my day . 🙂 Love the idea of a wide belt. I was just telling my mom last night about how 15 lbs crept up on me, how ironic…I get down on myself about it, but believe in loving yourself as you are until you get to that goal. You look great — real and authentic are beautiful. Thanks for the tips!!
I don’t even own a fashionable belt like that. I can’t say that I’ve ever even tried one on. I’ll have to do that next time I go shopping. I definitely need some fashions that take away the pounds! One thing I’ve found about looking slimmer is that even though I’m significantly overweight (size 18ish), I actually look slimmer in something that fits somewhat snugly (not super tight) around my body rather than something loose and baggy. I think there’s a natural tendency to want to hide in baggy clothes so no one can actually see your shape, but that’s really not flattering on anyone.
First, Jen, just let me say…if you never lost that 15 pounds, you would still be beautiful! I loved this post! It inspires me to check out my goodwill next time I get some “mommy time”!! Second–cute shoes! anytime, any woman of any size wears cute shoes, they go up a notch in my “fashionable” category!!
My mom is a bigger woman who has learned how to dress herself and always look “put together”! she wears COLOR all the time, too! I let her pick clothes for me all the time:)
I LOVE THE FRUGAL FASHIONISTA POSTS! thanks for this one!
I love your site please keep the fashionista post coming. These give me ideas on how to put ideas together with clothes that I have in my closet, or to start shopping at Goodwill and see if my local store has some treasures like you seem to find. You always look so cute in your outfits!
Very nice, Jen! The green top outfit is my favorite – super slimming, I’d never believe you had anything to lose. 🙂 I’ve recently lost about 25 pounds (first time in my adult life I’ve been this light!), and am working up the courage to blog about it. 🙂
I’m a pear shape, so I’ve learned that I don’t really want to emphasize the bottom of my body. Meaning the leggings-and-tunic look are not the best on me. I choose a lot of long-and-lean looks: dark jeans with a little heal and colors up top with scarves and cute jackets or cardis.
I never thought I would see the day I would be wearing belts again but I have been trying this one out lately and I AM AMAZED at how it helps detract from the muffin top. I even feel slimmer, which gives me more energy, which helps me lose the m.t. It’s a win-win. Good luck with the 30 day shred, I have never made it beyond day 3.
I think you look beautiful, radiant and healty…please don’t be hard on yourself for a 15 lb weight gain! You and I are about the same age and height( and probably weight 🙂 and I’ve definately noticed in the past couple of years a “creeping” up of the number on the scale, and yes, my clothes do fit differently. But, I also think it’s natural for our weight and body to change a bit as we get older. I have done weight watchers in the past and when 5 years ago I dropped 10 lbs most recently it’s more like 5. I think my baseline weight has just “re set”. As a good friend pointed out to me recently I can’t compare my 45 year old self to my 25 (or 35)year old self…..but enough about me! I really appreciate this post, I do find the need to be more creative in styling outfits to feel my best. I WANT to like the look of belts on me, but I’m still not convinced. I wonder if thick or thin belts are best, especially being curvy…what is your thought on this?
I’ve got to do the weight thing too. I was always thin, usually too thin (yes it is possible, when it hurts to sleep on your side with one shin on top of the other) And then menopause and quitting smoking – finally. Kaboom! Thirty pounds have to go. Now. I love belts, have a collection that cough-doesn’t-cough-fit-cough. I’m 5’4″ and long waisted, just too wide waisted right now. It’s hard work, but I’m not buying anything that I will feel comfortable in. Discomfort is hopefully going to be my motivation. I buy most of my clothing at thrift shops, and miss them. Once my benchmark clothes fit again, I plan on a few rewards though, so I’ll be watching you for some real life inspiration. I like that sometimes you have a wisp of hair out of place – I think that’s why people can identify with you and feel like they can do what you suggest. You are real, just like we are.
I think you look great in all 3 outfits! Good tips.